UFC 127: "Penn vs. Fitch" came from a "Land Down Under," putting 24 men at work inside the Octagon at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 26, 2011.
That was the plan, anyway, heading into the pay-per-view (PPV) event. But even the best laid plans often go awry ... especially when Fitch is involved in a number one contender eliminator bout.
The Fort Wayne, Ind., native put the Hawaiian through his meat grinder, but it was seemingly too much, too late. That's because it took him until the third and final round to impose his will over his much smaller opposition, pinning him to the mat for basically five minutes and delivering relentless ground and pound.
Fitch clearly won the final frame -- it wasn't even close. It was the two previous rounds, however, that were not quite as clear ... at least for two of the three judges scoring the contest.
Penn -- who seemingly had a significant advantage if he kept the fight upright -- surprised just about everyone, including Fitch, by shooting for (and getting) several takedowns in the first 10 minutes. Perhaps more surprising, however, was his inability to do anything when he secured dominant positions, especially when he got reversed twice while he had back control.
Nonetheless, it was impressive enough to score points, which contributed to a disappointing majority draw (29-28, 28-28 and 28-28). It was a result with which Penn, who admitted that he got his butt kicked in the third round, didn't seem to agree.
There's no doubt he'll take it for now, but where will he go with it later is a huge mystery. "The Prodigy" once again showed flashes of dazzling brilliance, but mixed it with stretches of maddening dullness. He's an enigma ... especially at 170 pounds.
Fitch, meanwhile, still hasn't finished an opponent since Roan Carneiro way back in 2007. He proved once again that he clearly belongs fighting the best in the business, but he fell short once again of removing all doubt that he's the best welterweight in the business not named Georges St. Pierre.
Until next time, it seems, when hopefully more questions are answered rather than raised.
Trash-talking middleweights Michael Bisping and Jorge Rivera finally let their fists do the talking inside the cage in the co-featured fight of the night. And in the case of Bisping, he even let his knee get a little payback, albeit illegaly.
The charged up "Count" drilled "El Conquistador" with an errant blow to the brain while he was on all fours, making him see stars and nearly ending the fight in the first round because of a disqualification.
Fortunately, a glazed-over Rivera was able to clear to cobwebs just enough to continue and finish the round. Unfortunately, for him, it was the only round out of three that he would see to the end.
Bisping came out full steam in the second, hammering away with punches in bunches that had Rivera on the defensive early and often. He was already visibly spent, which worked in the favor of the much fresher and way more accurate Brit.
It was only a matter of time before Rivera fell, and he did just that about two minutes into getting battered and beaten.
For Bisping, it was payback for all the viral slights and slurs Rivera used to hype the bout. He was so fired up that he seemingly couldn't control himself, flipping off Rivera's corner team and allegedly spitting on them to add insult to injury.
Bisping apologized during his post-fight remarks shortly thereafter, but it was an ugly scene that won't soon be forgotten. One that will certainly not help him in the court of public opinion, but at this stage of his career, anything he does (or doesn't do), good or bad, will be put under the microscope and used against him.
Sounds oddly familiar. See Fitch, Jon.
While we're on the subject of respect, or lack thereof, Denis Siver came into his lightweight bout against 155-pound title hopeful, and hometown hero, George Sotiropoulos, as a marked underdog.
He left a winner.
Siver surprised just about everyone, except probably himself, earning a unanimous decision win over the previously unbeaten Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace. He was likely brought in to showcase the skills of "G-Sots" and build him up for a run at the lightweight title.
No one let him in on that sinister marketing plan, however, and the German striker hopped himself to division relevance by avoiding takedowns and dishing out punishment in the process. It's a huge feather in his cap, but possibly created a huge headache for UFC matchmaker Joe Silva.
Call me crazy. Or maybe just call B.J. Penn again.
In the upset of the night, which Nostradumbass miraculously predicted (sort of) on Friday, unheralded mixed martial arts veteran Brian Ebersole stepped up on short notice to beat, and nearly finish the unfinishable, Chris Lytle, via lopsided unanimous decision.
It was a pitched back-and-forth battle, which is par for the course whenever "Light's Out" steps inside the cage. "Bad Boy," however, got the better of most exchanges and had the Indiana fireman hurt bad on several occasions.
In the process, Ebersole stopped Lytle's four-fight win streak and extended his own to eight. Talk about making a great first impression.
That's enough from us -- now it's your turn to discuss "Penn vs. Fitch" in the comments section below. Sound off, Maniacs.
For complete UFC 127 results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.